There are a lot of benefits of working with a social media influencer. Sharing your product or brand through a thought leader in your niche through their channels has a lot of really positive impacts: you’re reaching new audiences, you are connecting with audiences passionate about your niche, sharing a brand message via a human recommendation builds trust (as people trust recommendations from individuals more than brands), you combat ‘banner ad blindness’ , if you’re working with bloggers you can get a little SEO love and, according to some, the ROI is much higher than using traditional digital ad placements.

With more and more businesses wanting to get a piece of the influencer pie, if you’re thinking about working with an influencer, what do you need to keep in mind?

In this post, I roundup of the must-read articles on working with influencers, and what you need to keep in mind before jumping in. Let’s do it.

What’s your objective?

When we see the works of art influencers create when making sponsored posts, it can be easy to forget how much goes into making it all happen. Working with an influencer is part of a marketing campaign: so having a clear objective is essential. Are you wanting to raise awareness with a specific target audience? Increase purchases? Change brand perception? Ensuring your single objective is clearly defined before you get started, and you know the audience you want to target, is essential.

This article has a really great rundown on how to nail your marketing objectives when working with an influencer:

6 Tips For Running A Social Media Influencer Marketing Campaign

Finding your Influencers

Once you know what you’re trying to do with your marketing campaign, you need to find the right person for the job. How do you even find influencers in your brand or niche? And is it better to work with one big influencer or a series of smaller influencers?

These articles do a great job highlighting the tools you can use to find influencers:

How to Identify Your Social Media Influencers

7 Tools To Help You Easily Identify Influencers In Your Industry

 

Are they the right for you?

Once you’ve found a few influencers you believe are the right fit, how can you be sure they are the real deal? You want to ensure your influencer has real followers (and not just bots!) and is someone who is a genuine thought leader for the community they are part of. Researching their post history and seeing what they post, and how they engage with their community is really important.

Here are some great articles to help you ensure you’ve got a legit influencer in your space:

A Guide to Working With Instagram Influencers: What to Look For

4 influencer marketing risks to be wary of

Contacting your influencer

When you’re an online influencer, everyone wants a piece of you. So how does a business get in contact with an influencer, and even get noticed, in a sea of similar requests? On top of that, how do you build a relationship with your influencer so it’s an ongoing partnership?

On top of engaging with them over time on their accounts, you also need to have a very clear pitch: what you will give, and what you will get.

These articles have some great tips on how to actually get in touch with influencers and pitching to them:

Five things to do when approaching influencers

The Secret Guide To Instagram Influencer Marketing

Influencer Marketing 101 – Smart Influencer Pitching Tactics (Part 2)

Money, money, money

A social media influencer has a key resource you want: an audience obsessed with your product. Just like online advertising, there is a cost to being able to successfully reach a niche audience.

Some influencers charge based on CPM costs and how by many people they have in their audience. Others charge by post. And some influencers might be happy to receive products instead of money.

In the end, they are running a business, so ensure you’ve considered what the influencer gets out of this exchange, even if it’s not money: is it a product, service or gift voucher?

(And, as this article highlights, a social media influencer is not the same as a brand ambassador or advocate, who might be inspired or persuaded to post for free).

So how much should you pay? Well, it depends. Most influencers should have a rate card showing their costs.

But these articles will give you a guide on the current market rate to get you considering the investment:

How Much Should You Pay Social Media Influencers?

What influencer marketing really costs

How much to charge for Instagram sponsored posts (an Instagrammer’s perspective)

How are you working with them?

There are a lot of details you need to work out when you are working with an Influencer. You need to work on a brief, collaborate to identify the kind of content they will be posting, work on setting up ways to track their results as the campaign goes on (especially if it’s over several months!) and an agreement or contract. If you’re looking at working with them long term, having a strong foundation is essential.

These articles are really great sources to look at the processes you should set up when working with an influencer to help things run as smoothly as possible:

9 Elements Successful Influencer Marketing Agreements Contain

How To Brief An Influencer For Your Campaign

How to Work with Influencers: The Ultimate Guide

4 things that can go wrong in an influencer campaign (and how to fix them)

Additionally, you need to be across your local advertising laws. In many countries, it’s a requirement to be transparent about sponsored posts, where the influencer needs to disclose if their post is #sponsored. And, there are heavy fines being handed out for those who don’t comply, so be aware of your obligation to ensure your influencers are being transparent.

Some articles on this:
Australia: Instafamous must reveal #ads under new transparency rules
USA: How to comply with FTC social media ‘influencer’ rules

Was it worth the investment?

Like all marketing campaigns, you need to see if your business or marketing objective was met. Setting up weekly reporting, or working out your ROI will give you guidance on whether working with your influencer met your goals.

These articles have a great rundown on how to track and assess your influencer campaigns:

How to Measure Influencer Marketing Campaigns: 5 Analytical Approaches

4 Challenges with Influencer Marketing and How To Overcome Them

Conclusion

Influencer marketing might be the sexy new thing in marketing, but it is still marketing. It requires clear objectives, a strategy, research, contracts, briefs and reporting.

And of course, you’re working with a real person at the end of the day – someone who, ideally, wants to collaborate with you to help you meet your business goals, and theirs.

Are you ready to get started with working with influencers?


About Rachel Beaney

Rachel Beaney is an Australian freelance social media specialist with over a decade in digital media. She’s worked with global names like Microsoft, Samsung, News Corp and General Assembly, in addition to not-for-profits and government bodies. She loves helping clients solve their business needs with creative and data-driven solutions. Get in touch today to jump on a free consultation call to find out how Rachel can help you.